It takes 3,750 minutes to run a digital news site

Or so that’s what Oakland Local founder and senior editor Amy Gahran has found in her Content Budget Calculator (link is an Excel spreadsheet), which was posted to and quickly shared on Twitter on Wednesday.

The spreadsheet, spotted on hashtag #kdic2011, a Knight Community Information Challenge Boot Camp hosted by the Knight Digital Media Center at USC, lays out 37 common online news website tasks and assigns the amount of minutes it averages to complete each task. For instance, at the short end of the spectrum, Gahran estimates posting a single photo with a caption and photocredit requires 15 minutes of a content time budget, whereas complex reportage uses about 240 minutes of a time budget.

By the way, 3,750 minutes=62.5 hours. No wonder independent, one-man hyperlocal publisher operations spend a lot of time on daily operations. Further, this spreasheet only counts editorial side duties. Advertising and marketing strategies are not accounted for, and most independent online community publishers are the editorial and advertising departments.

Without much background to explain these numbers, I cannot elaborate more on the spreadsheet. But I am glad to see someone creating a baseline for post-modern newsroom activity. The spreadsheet not only counts minutes it may take to create and disseminate information in the digital age, it also helps define the new news jobs that create the work that is counted.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a 1 hour+ video presentation by Gahran in March, related to the Content Budget Calculator..

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